“Optimistic” is the best word to describe how Kalamazoo’s cross country teams are viewing this season.
Beginning with the first invitational in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Sept. 9 both the men and women’s teams have sped into season with a positive outlook, placing at 18th and 21st place, respectively. Jackson Kelly ‘20 led the way for the Hornets in 101st place, with Caleb Patton ‘20 following in 117th place. Improvement has already been seen from the first competition at the MIAA Jamboree in Holland, Michigan, on Sept. 23. Jackson Kelly ‘20 led the team at 19th place, with Caleb Patton in 54th and Austin Yunker ‘20 in 72nd. Hannah Hamilton ‘19 took the lead for the women’s team with 41st place, followed by Cheyenne Allyn-White ‘19 in 53rd, and Rachael Gallap ‘21 in 54th.
This past weekend both teams spent their Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky, at the Louisville Sports Commission Classic: “Our third race, and first out of state race, the [LSCC], was a fast race. We had a lot of personal records on the team,” said Preston Grossling ‘21. Improvement is expected as the season continues on. This upcoming progress can be largely attributed the underclassman participation and improvement on the team.
“For the freshmen, we have all developed into much faster runners and learned how to pace an 8k race,” said Grossling. The men’s team is young overall, with four freshmen and three sophomores making up the nine person team. This large young population is seen as a future asset for the team. Growth is predicted in these runners over the next year as Patton said, “We have a lot of talent that will be returning next year to take the MIAA by storm.”
The rest of the season is looking up for the Hornets. They will be running at the Lansing Invitational on Oct. 6 and Pre-Nationals in Illinois on Oct. 14. Team members are looking forward for more chances to run and improve, along with growing and developing as a team. Times are expected to drop as speeds increase, and the Hornets see both teams advancing in talent level through the end of the season.
“We are looking forward to invitationals in Lansing, Illinois, and Dexter before the conference championship meet,” said Caleb Patton. “While we cannot score as a team at the conference meet, we expect to run well enough that we would place higher than we have in many years.”